With the weather suddenly taking a glorious turn, and with certain sporting events coming alive this summer (I am of course talking about the Thumb Wrestling World Championships), you might find yourself waking some mornings with a slightly wooly disposition. 

It’s quite a British thing, despite your new-found dislike of alcohol the morning after, to very quickly begin making a mental catalogue of everything alcoholic you consumed the day/evening before. If you have company, this activity may become a group activity, sometimes even with a competitive nature. But really, how much did you drink? And who drank the most?

Alcoholic drinks are measured in Alcohol By Volume (ABV %), which literally tells you how much ethanol is in your beverage as a percentage. Beer is seldom the strongest drink you’ll have of an evening, but the quantities you drink it in often mean that if you stick to beer, you’ll invariably have drunk more alcohol than anyone else, providing you’ve had the same number of drinks. The government has a system of ‘units’ to take the tricky maths out of this situation. However, this effort hasn’t really translated into a comprehensive understanding for most drinkers. 

Below is a table that shows you side-by-side what alcoholic drinks are going to put the most alcohol into your body.

The results show that having lots of beer, even in smaller measures for stronger beers, quickly adds up, and is certainly at least equivalent to drinks that are stronger. One pint of standard strength beer isn’t worse than anything else (about the same as a wine or whisky), but having three 2/3pt measures of 7% IPA is going to be almost as much alcohol as eight (8!) shots of whisky. It’s a testament to the deliciousness of beer that it often slips down so easily. Hopefully this article will help you win your ego-driven argument against your whisky drinking friend about who drank more, but maybe it’ll make you realise that having a shandy every two or three rounds isn’t such a bad idea sometimes. Unless that imperial stout is going down too well, that is.